Report delves into what GenAI will — and won’t — change and what it brings to journalism

By Sonali Verma


Toronto, Ontario, Canada


The European Broadcasting Union undertook dozens of interviews with media leaders, academics, and other experts and wrote Trusted Journalism in the Age of Generative AI, a 191-page report, rich in details, to examine this question.

I spent hours reading the report and here, I share what I think are the most important parts you and your team should know about.

What will change?

The answers fall into two camps. “The first — and larger group — expects the technology to affect predominantly journalistic practices and workflows,” the report said.

Niddal Salah-Eldin, vice president people and culture at German publisher Axel Springer, foresees dramatic changes in news production: “In the long run, journalistic production will become a byproduct, more technically supported and automated.” 

This group also expects no change in journalism’s status in society and its core objectives — public service, objectivity, independence, ethics, a focus on collecting and sharing facts, telling stories, and helping different voices to be heard.

As Dmitry Shishkin, CEO of Ringier Media International, said: “I am optimistic about journalism as long as it is proving its worth to society. Machines cannot go to interesting people and talk about interesting things.”

“The second group forecasts a profound change in communication habits and, consequently, the entire information ecosystem,” the report said. 

“Some expect journalism to fundamentally change from a push activity, where media organisations serve audiences with news products, to a customer-driven pull experience, where audiences decide for themselves the format they want to interact with at any given moment.” (We at INMA forecast this in our first mini-report on GenAI in the news business as well.) 

“Today we use search engines; in the future we will use answer engines,” said Anne Lagercrantz of Sveriges Television.

So, what will remain the same? 

  • Journalism is about accuracy, facts, surprise, and storytelling.

  • Journalism that holds power to account will be as important as ever.

  • Journalism will once again be about trusted and stable relationships with individuals and audiences

  • Journalism will be about editorial choices. “This doesn’t mean that journalists will choose and curate the format or length of news items. Technology is better at this, especially when on-demand services and personalisation shape news media. But journalists will decide where to invest resources, when to push for more research and insights, and which projects to start and which ones to axe.” 

  • Journalism will once again be about the real world: about meeting and talking to people, investigating, and breaking distinctive stories.

And what will emerge?

  • Journalism will be about sophisticated targeting of audiences with content that enriches their lives.

  • Journalism will be mainly about research, not production. The human factor in production will change and partially disappear.

  • Journalism will tell stories emerging from data that wasn’t accessible before.

  • Journalism will become hyper-localised in a way that wasn’t previously affordable. “New tools will help to localise news and make it accessible to audiences in new ways. Weather or traffic reports for different regions will be customised and presented by avatars. Data journalism will take general phenomena, break them down for specific regions, and generate stories that would have previously needed too much human input.”

  • Journalism will become inclusive in a way that wasn’t affordable before: People can consume it in their language in a way that meets their needs.

  • Journalists and audiences won’t feel the AI behind the systems and platforms they are using. This will enhance journalists’ work and audiences’ experiences.

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About Sonali Verma

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